The Long Shadow Of Malthus

For more than 200 years, a disturbingly vicious thread has run through Western history, based on biology and justifying cruelty on an almost unimaginable scale. It centres on the question of how to control human population growth and it answers that question by saying we must be cruel to be kind, that ends justify means. It is still around today; and it could not be more wrong. It is the continuing misuse of Malthus.

According to his epitaph in Bath Abbey, the Rev Thomas Robert Malthus, author of An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), was noted for “his sweetness of temper, urbanity of manners and tenderness of heart, his benevolence and his piety”. Yet his ideas have justified some of the greatest crimes in history. By saying that, if people could not be persuaded to delay marriage, we would have to encourage famine and “reprobate specific remedies for ravaging diseases”, he inadvertently gave birth to a series of heartless policies — the poor laws, the British government’s approach to famine in Ireland and India, social Darwinism, eugenics, the Holocaust, India’s forced sterilisations and China’s one-child policy. All derived their logic more or less directly from a partial reading of Malthus.

  • passerby1969

    This article about Malthus was interesting. To curb population, does it help to starve people and keep them powerless or to raise their standard of living and allow them free choice to have children? China has been brutal about population control since Mao Tse Tung. I think the Chinese believed it was the only way. But other countries offering more freedom to citizens in reproduction like Iran have achieved the same outcome. HIndsight is 20/20. Africa’s growing population continues to be a problem.

  • infedel

    The ends never justify the means EVER…never have …it is a false narrative.

    • Kit Ingoldby

      Never? Surely it depends on what those means and what those ends are.

      • FactsWillOut

        I got up and walked to the kitchen as a means to get some coffee this morning.
        I am obviously worse than Hitler.

        • Kit Ingoldby

          You are a monster!

        • El Martyachi

          Yo, this post from a few days back struck me as something you’d like.

          • FactsWillOut

            I do indeed like it.
            The free market doing what it does.
            Thanks! 🙂

  • simus1

    It is interesting how the Genocidist leftist elites pursue such seemingly contradictory policies like destroying our Christian based culture and its “no longer needed multiracial population ordinaire” while hyping fecund muslamia at the same time. Or perhaps the idea is as simple as dealing with the smarter less violent prey first.

    • FactsWillOut

      “less violent” until provoked enough.
      Then, we’ll see.

  • V10_Rob

    Malthusism and fretting about overpopulation typically seems to be a progressive thing. Western/developed nations generally have zero or negative birth rates, so we’ve apparently got the whole ‘unchecked population growth that consumes all resources and dooms society’ thing under control. So what do the progressives generally advocate? Expanding the under-producing and outright parasitic classes (either native born or imported) to consume more of a nation’s finite assets.

    That’s the local and national level. Let them start on global population, and… well… it’s amusing to watch them dance around the elephant in the room that is the inevitable conclusion of their apocalyptic theory: “Too many brown people in foreign lands”

  • Kit Ingoldby

    Because obviously Africans having 12 children each doesn’t have anything at all to do with them not having enough to eat……

  • FactsWillOut

    Whenever someone tries to tackle “issues” with the general population, the masses, etc, what they are really doing is trying to justify either totalitarianism or mass murder.

  • Brett_McS

    The facts are fairly clear: Educated women = reduced birth rate.

    • FactsWillOut

      I’d say it’s women in the workforce = reduced birth rate.
      Sadly, that means that those demographics that don’t educate or let women work will win, in the end.

      • mauser 98

        all goes back to taxation.. lower the tax rate women can stay home to raise children.
        national day care is Orwellian guvmint dream

        • FactsWillOut


          They want kids raised in the state crèche, and will use gluttony to sell the idea.

          • mauser 98

            give me a child until he is 6 and i will own him for life

    • simus1

      “Educated” is a bit of a stretch.
      Japanese women combine being very highly educated, having lower sex drives, plus minimal interest in having children.
      Perhaps there was something else involved. In the distant past. Large families and even more kinfolk with same in the immediate area would have been a much safer and more productive environment when push came to shove.
      Being hardworking, alert, and smart couldn’t hurt either.

  • Spatchcocked

    Friend of mines dissertation was on Malthus…political science prof at UBC…..lifelong commie of course….did a number of years research in British library museum….felt I walked on holy ground he said……..gone now….very amusing guy….would pick fistfights with rich guys ….